Apple Cider Vinegar for Cats. Is It Safe or Dangerous?


Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It has been used as a natural health remedy for thousands of years. In recent years, ACV has grown in popularity due to its numerous purported health benefits including weight loss, lowered blood sugar and cholesterol, and improved skin health. However, most of these potential benefits are supported by limited scientific evidence.

Currently there is little research on the effects of ACV specifically for cats. Some pet owners give small amounts of diluted ACV to their cats in water or food, claiming it improves coat health and digestion. However, the safety and efficacy of ACV for cats is still uncertain.

Is ACV Safe for Cats?

In moderation, apple cider vinegar is considered safe for cats. According to PetMD, apple cider vinegar is harmless and beneficial when given to cats in small amounts diluted in water. However, larger doses can potentially cause health issues.

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is the main concern with toxicity in cats. At high concentrations, acetic acid can irritate a cat’s mouth, throat, and stomach lining. Severe toxicity can cause throat swelling and breathing difficulties.

As long as apple cider vinegar is diluted and given in moderation, it is unlikely to cause harm in cats. However, owners should consult their vet before regularly giving ACV to a cat, especially if they have any existing health conditions. It’s best to be cautious and conservative with dosage when first giving a cat diluted ACV.

Possible Benefits of ACV for Cats

Apple cider vinegar can potentially provide some health benefits for cats when given in small amounts. Some potential benefits include:

Improving digestive health – The acetic acid in ACV may help promote digestion and nutrient absorption.

Preventing urinary tract infections – ACV’s acidic properties can help keep the urinary tract environment acidic, discouraging bacterial growth.

Aiding skin and coat health – ACV is thought to balance pH levels and deter fleas when applied topically in diluted amounts. ACV may also reduce skin irritation.

Boosting immunity – Proponents claim ACV contains beneficial compounds that may give the immune system a boost.

However, most evidence for ACV benefits in cats is anecdotal. More research is still needed on the efficacy and safety of ACV supplementation in cats.

Some sources claim ACV may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties that could promote health when used properly.

Potential Risks of ACV for Cats

While small amounts of diluted ACV are generally safe for cats, there are some potential risks to be aware of:

Throat/Mouth Irritation – The acidic nature of ACV means that it can irritate a cat’s mouth, throat or esophagus if given undiluted or in large amounts. Cats have very sensitive tongues and the acidic ACV can cause burns or ulcers in the mouth.

Upset Stomach – Too much ACV can upset a cat’s digestive system, leading to vomiting, diarrhea or lack of appetite. Cats have sensitive stomachs so introducing ACV slowly and in small diluted amounts is recommended.

Tooth Erosion – Prolonged contact with acidic substances like ACV may erode tooth enamel over time. It’s best to avoid putting ACV directly in the mouth and dilute it well.

Dehydration – As a diuretic, excessive ACV can potentially cause dehydration. Make sure cats have plenty of fresh water available if giving ACV.

Drug Interactions – ACV may interact with certain medications like diuretics and insulin. Check with a vet before giving ACV if your cat is on medication.

Overall, ACV is likely safe for cats in small dilute amounts. But too much can lead to irritation, stomach upset or other issues. Moderation and caution are advised.


The Many Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Pet Dogs & Cats

Recommended ACV Dosage for Cats

When giving ACV to cats, it’s important to dilute it properly to avoid potential side effects. The general guideline is to mix 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of ACV per 4 cups of water. Start with a weaker dilution like 1 teaspoon per 4 cups and gradually increase to the higher end as tolerated.

For oral administration, the maximum daily dosage of ACV for a cat is 1/4 teaspoon, diluted in food or water. Exceeding this amount could lead to upset stomach. ACV can also be applied topically by mixing 1 part ACV to 10 parts water and rubbing on the coat or paws. This allows the cat to ingest ACV when grooming without drinking it directly.

To optimize safety, work up to the maximum dosage slowly under veterinary guidance. More is not necessarily better with ACV. Follow label directions and consult your vet on the ideal ACV regimen for your cat.


How to Give ACV to Cats

There are a few different methods for giving apple cider vinegar to cats:

Mixing with Food: A common way to give ACV is by mixing it into your cat’s wet food. Start with a very diluted mix of 1 teaspoon of ACV to 1 tablespoon of water. Gradually increase the ACV amount up to 1/4 teaspoon mixed into wet food.[1]

Mixing with Water: You can mix a small amount of ACV into your cat’s water bowl. Use a ratio of 1 teaspoon ACV per 1 cup of water. This allows your cat to ingest the ACV when drinking water.[2]

Mixing with Treats: For picky cats, try mixing a diluted ACV solution into a tasty broth or tuna juice and use it to coat treats or kibble. Start with 1/4 teaspoon ACV to 1 teaspoon of broth.[1]

Always dilute the ACV and gradually increase the amount to avoid upsetting your cat’s stomach.

Signs of ACV Toxicity in Cats

Apple cider vinegar can cause toxicity in cats if they ingest too much of it. Some of the signs of ACV toxicity to watch for include:

Vomiting – One of the most common symptoms of ACV toxicity in cats is vomiting. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can irritate a cat’s digestive tract, causing nausea and vomiting.

Diarrhea – Ingesting too much ACV can also lead to diarrhea in cats. The acidic nature of ACV speeds up bowel motility, resulting in loose stools or diarrhea.

Lethargy – Cats who have consumed toxic amounts of ACV may become lethargic and tired. The vomiting, diarrhea and electrolyte imbalances caused by ACV can leave cats feeling weak.

Loss of appetite – Due to an upset stomach from ACV toxicity, cats often lose their appetite. They may refuse food or treats.

Dehydration – The vomiting and diarrhea associated with ACV toxicity can quickly lead to dehydration in cats. Left untreated, dehydration can become life-threatening.

It’s important to monitor your cat for these symptoms after giving them apple cider vinegar. Seek veterinary care immediately if toxicity symptoms develop.

When to Avoid ACV for Cats

While apple cider vinegar can provide some benefits for cats, there are some situations where it’s best to avoid giving ACV.

Kittens and pregnant or nursing cats should not be given ACV, as its safety has not been established for these groups. Kittens have developing digestive systems that may be sensitive to the acidity of ACV.

Cats with kidney disease or urinary tract infections should also avoid ACV, as the acidity can further irritate the kidneys and urinary tract [1]. For cats with these conditions, speak to your vet before giving any ACV.

In addition, ACV should be avoided for cats with gastrointestinal ulcers or irritation. The acidic nature of ACV may aggravate these conditions [2].

Cats with dental issues like gingivitis may also want to avoid ACV, as its acidity can worsen inflammation in the mouth. Always dilute ACV well and avoid letting cats ingest it undiluted.

If your cat is on any medications or supplements, check with your vet before giving ACV, as interactions are possible. It’s better to be safe than cause unintended effects.

Consulting a Vet on ACV

It’s always best to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new supplement like ACV to your cat’s diet or care routine. A vet can review your cat’s health history and current condition to determine if ACV is appropriate and can provide dosage guidance specific to your cat.

Some things a vet will consider include if your cat has any pre-existing conditions like kidney disease that may be exacerbated by ACV. They will also want to make sure the ACV will not interact with any medications or treatments your cat is already receiving.

A vet can also advise you on starting with a very small dose of highly diluted ACV first to monitor for any adverse reactions before increasing the dosage. And they can instruct you on signs of ACV overdose to watch for.

By consulting an expert, you can feel confident you are administering ACV safely and effectively. While ACV has potential benefits, it’s always wise to get veterinary approval before using it with cats.

The Bottom Line

In summary, apple cider vinegar can potentially provide some benefits for cats when used correctly and carefully. The main benefits include improving skin and coat health, repelling fleas, and supporting digestion. However, ACV also carries risks if improperly administered, such as irritation to the skin, eyes, throat, and stomach lining. Furthermore, ACV has not been extensively studied in cats specifically.

The bottom line advice for cat owners considering ACV is to exercise extreme caution. Consult your vet first and follow their recommended dosage guidelines closely. Never give ACV undiluted. Monitor your cat closely for any signs of negative reaction. Discontinue use if any irritation occurs. While ACV may offer some benefits, the risks likely outweigh rewards for most cat owners. Proper vet care and high quality cat food remain the best ways to support your cat’s health.

Scroll to Top